I’ve learned much more about feminism than I could’ve imagined this month. At times, the focus on this theme was overwhelming because well, I’m pretty freaking far from being an expert. And the hardest part about getting in the ring (because feminism sure isn’t a spectator sport), is looking like you’re not repping very well. There’s nothing worse than swinging around with your dukes up like a cartoon character and having your ass handed to you from someone who knows what they’re talking about. I mean, since I am a woman, I should look and talk like I eat feminism for breakfast. But I don’t. Or didn’t rather, until now.
I remember taking a woman studies course in college in 1996 (basically yesterday, gasp). I sat in the back and never raised my hand. I didn’t feel like I had a voice worth sharing because I felt overshadowed by the women that could ace the course with their eyes closed because it was built into their DNA.
They breathed feminism, while I choked on it.
As the only girl raised in an all boy family, I had zero feminism roaring through my blood stream. I also didn’t understand hating men–because they were often my best friends. As a matter of fact, I clearly remembered high school was the place where girls were the problem: so catty and cruel. And so, sitting in that lecture hall felt no different, like a cult-clubhouse: You’re either with us or you’re against us.
I never asked to have both worlds because asking about it scared the shit out of me.
I just decided that anger and intimidation was not my style and I also decided never to take another class like that again. I had assumed they all must be the same. Then I cemented the fact that feminism was not for me because I didn’t fit into one ounce of what it looked like. I loved dresses and heels and lipgloss. I loved lace bras and matching underwear and having a man open a door for me and even order my dinner while I sat right in front of him, very capable of doing it myself.
And because of this very feminist-focused month, I’ve come to learn though you, dear readers, and my own family–that feminism for everyone–regardless of your gender and whatever you wear to express yourself.
So about that word: feminism. It does stir up some hella-intense imagery, doesn’t it? And it’s important imagery too–Feminism has an potent, gritty history because we had to go there. But the images of the past are now stereotypes. And they are watering down the original meaning of feminism that could be scaring off it’s future use. Equality is where it’s at.
Re-establishing our beliefs and re-assigning our truths based not on sex, but our unstoppable selves is what will create the kind of kickass world we all want to live in.
As always, your insight and sentiments mean so much to me. I’d love to hear your side and have it help me shape my new perspective on feminism.